Fresh Air

Weekdays at 7:00pm and Saturdays & Sundays at 2:00pm
Terry Gross

Opening the window on contemporary arts and issues with guests from worlds as diverse as literature and economics.

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Interviews
11:59 am
Wed August 22, 2012

Bill Hader On Sketch Comedy, His Love Of Old Films

Bill Hader was nominated for an Emmy as Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series for his role as Stefon on Saturday Night Live.
Mike Coppola Getty Images

Originally published on Thu August 23, 2012 3:12 pm

Comedian Bill Hader is adept onstage and doing live performances. But he's scared to death of standup.

He says he remembers watching Chris Rock's 1996 HBO special, Bring the Pain, and thinking, "I don't know how people do that."

"I need a character," Hader tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "I need people out there with me."

So Hader has stuck with sketch comedy — where he has been wildly successful.

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Author Interviews
1:10 pm
Tue August 21, 2012

Student 'Subversives' And The FBI's 'Dirty Tricks'

Mario Savio, shown here at a victory rally in UC Berkeley's Sproul Plaza on Dec. 9, 1964, was the face of the free speech movement.
AP

Originally published on Wed August 22, 2012 12:21 pm

In 1964, students at the University of California, Berkeley, formed a protest movement to repeal a campus rule banning students from engaging in political activities.

Then-FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover suspected the free speech movement to be evidence of a Communist plot to disrupt U.S. campuses. He "had long been concerned about alleged subversion within the education field," journalist Seth Rosenfeld tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross.

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Remembrances
12:52 pm
Tue August 21, 2012

Fresh Air Remembers Comedian Phyllis Diller

Phyllis Diller plays peekaboo with the cameraman before the start of her television show Bonkers in 1979.
Central Press/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue August 21, 2012 1:35 pm

Phyllis Diller, one of the first and one of the few female comic headliners of her generation, died Monday at the age of 95.

Diller performed in the persona of a crazed housewife. She usually dressed in outlandish, bad-fitting clothes with her hair teased into a disheveled mop. Then she'd fire off long strings of self-deprecating gags. She was so unattractive, she used to tell her audiences, that Peeping Toms asked her to pull her window shades down. Onstage, she called her husband Fang. Diller told Fang jokes like her male counterparts told wife jokes.

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Movie Interviews
12:58 pm
Mon August 20, 2012

Mike Birbiglia, 'Sleepwalk'-ing On The Big Screen

Comedian Mike Birbiglia co-wrote the script for the new film about himself: Sleepwalk With Me.
Brian Friedman

When comedian Mike Birbiglia opened his one-man show Sleepwalk With Me in 2008 at the Bleecker Street Theatre in New York, he didn't anticipate that it would become material for a popular piece on This American Life and a New York Times best-seller. He especially didn't think it would turn into a feature film.

Birbigilia had never made a film before. And he was initially hesitant to make one about his dangerous sleepwalking condition, because he wanted to distance himself from the topic he had been immersed in for more than four years.

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Fresh Air Weekend
8:03 am
Sat August 18, 2012

Fresh Air Weekend: Susie Arioli, Frank Langella

Susie Arioli's new album, All the Way, was released in June.
Marianne Larochelle

Originally published on Mon August 20, 2012 4:09 pm

Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors, and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:

Jazz Vocalist Susie Arioli Goes 'All The Way': Listen to an in-studio concert and conversation with the Canadian singer and her longtime guitarist, Jordan Officer.

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Author Interviews
12:12 pm
Fri August 17, 2012

Donald Ray Pollock On Finding Fiction Late In Life

This interview was originally broadcast on July 26, 2011. Donald Ray Pollock's The Devil All the Time is now out in paperback.

Knockemstiff, Ohio, is a tiny hamlet in southern Ohio. In the 1950s, Knockemstiff had three stores, a bar and a population of about 450 people. Most of those people, says fiction writer Donald Ray Pollock, were "connected by blood through one godforsaken calamity or another."

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Movie Interviews
11:22 am
Fri August 17, 2012

Sacha Baron Cohen: The Fresh Air Interview

Sacha Baron Cohen plays Admiral General Aladeen, the authoritarian, anti-Semitic and unexpectedly sympathetic protagonist of The Dictator.
Melinda Sue Gordon Paramount Pictures

Originally published on Fri August 17, 2012 12:12 pm

This interview was originally broadcast on May 21, 2012. Sacha Baron Cohen's The Dictator is now out on DVD.

Actor and writer Sacha Baron Cohen is famous for taking his characters — Ali G., Borat, Bruno — into the real world, interacting with people who have no idea that they're dealing with a fictional character. But his new movie, The Dictator, is a scripted comedy about a tyrant on the loose in New York.

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Movie Interviews
12:59 pm
Thu August 16, 2012

Frank Langella Embodies Wicked In 'Robot & Frank'

In Robot & Frank, a robot cares for an aging ex-burglar who has dementia. Frank Langella, who plays the burglar, says his character "becomes fond of the robot only because it is a tool for his wicked, wicked ways."
Samuel Goldwyn Films and Stage 6 Films

Originally published on Fri August 17, 2012 9:07 am

Frank Langella's career has not been an upward trajectory of success — and he likes it that way. He's had memorable roles on stage and screen, and times when he couldn't find work, or even an agent.

Now at 74, Langella is as busy as ever, and, as he tells Fresh Air's Dave Davies, he's never been hungrier to act.

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Music Reviews
11:19 am
Thu August 16, 2012

Autosalvage: The Psychedelic Band That Vanished

Autosalvage, a New York quartet, made one album and then stopped playing.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Fri August 17, 2012 2:14 pm

A little over 10 years ago, a friend with a small record company in England called me and asked if I wanted to do liner notes for an album he was re-releasing. When he told me it was the Autosalvage album, I flipped. Of course I did!

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Politics
2:55 pm
Wed August 15, 2012

Do Voter ID Laws Prevent Fraud, Or Dampen Turnout?

Pennsylvania voters show identification as they sign in to vote during the Republican primary in Philadelphia in April.
Jessica Kourkounis Getty Images

Originally published on Fri September 7, 2012 12:36 pm

Ahead of the 2012 presidential election, key states have adopted voter ID laws and other measures that could affect voter turnout. It's created a national controversy about who will be most affected.

According to the New York Times, 33 states now have laws requiring identification for voting, and five require specific kinds of photo IDs to vote.

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Music Reviews
2:51 pm
Wed August 15, 2012

How Jan Garbarek Came To Epitomize Nordic Jazz

A new box set of early albums captures Jan Garbarek's forming saxophone sound — austere and astringent.
Roberto Massoti ECM Records

Originally published on Wed August 22, 2012 2:22 pm

Saxophonist Jan Garbarek was a teenage protege of American composer George Russell in Norway in the 1960s and later played in Keith Jarrett's Scandinavian quartet. More recently, he has collaborated with the vocal quartet the Hilliard Ensemble, improvising as they sing medieval music.

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Author Interviews
11:55 am
Tue August 14, 2012

Climate 'Weirdness' Throws Ecosystems 'Out Of Kilter'

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the past year through June 2012 has been the hottest year in the continental U.S. since modern record-keeping started in 1895. Above, New Yorkers flocked to Coney Island to try to beat the heat in early August.
Mario Tama Getty Images

Originally published on Tue August 14, 2012 12:47 pm

Science journalist Michael Lemonick doesn't want to be a doomsday prophet, but he does want to be realistic about the threat of climate change. "Since I started writing about climate change all the way back in 1987, we've known what the cause is, we've known what the likely outcome is, and we've had time to act — and essentially we haven't acted," he tells Fresh Air's Dave Davies.

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Politics & Government
10:30 am
Tue August 14, 2012

With Ryan's Ascent, A Few Thoughts On 'Entitlement'

Rep. Paul Ryan has made changes to social safety net programs like Medicare and Social Security — often called "entitlements" — a key part of his political agenda.
Win McNamee Getty Images

Originally published on Tue August 14, 2012 2:27 pm

People are saying that Mitt Romney's selection of Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan as his running mate creates an opportunity to hold what Ryan likes to call an "adult conversation" about entitlement spending. In the present political climate, it would be heartening to have an adult conversation about anything. But bear in mind that "entitlement" doesn't put all its cards on the table. Like a lot of effective political language, it enables you to slip from one idea to another without ever letting on that you've changed the subject.

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Author Interviews
11:34 am
Mon August 13, 2012

Looking To The 'Stars' For A Reason To Live

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon August 13, 2012 11:51 am

When Peter Heller sat down to work on his first novel, all he knew was that he wanted to have the experience of writing without knowing the ending. As an expedition kayaker, Heller was already the author of many works of travel and outdoor-adventure writing. With his debut novel, The Dog Stars, Heller returned to fiction — his first love. But as the novel took a post-apocalyptic turn, he found himself relying on his real-life scrapes and survival skills.

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Interviews
8:03 am
Sat August 11, 2012

Fresh Air Weekend: Chris Rock, Dan Auerbach

Chris Rock stars as Julie Delpy's boyfriend in 2 Days in New York. Delpy directed the film, a follow-up to her 2007 romantic comedy 2 Days in Paris.
Walter Thomson Magnolia Pictures

Originally published on Sat August 11, 2012 9:04 am

Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors, and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:

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